A round-up of recent news items from the Skywings Team.
It turns out that Bisham Abbey is rather a nice sports place down by the Thames at Marlow, and quite the most pleasant spot the BHPA have chosen for an AGM in ages. The meeting opened with Chairman Martin Heywood recapping the significant happenings of the year, notably the seamless move to new offices at Merus Court and the increase in landowner insurance cover to £5 million. Martin also thanked John Aldridge for his great efforts in support of the sport. John is stepping down from the Exec competitions post he has held for something like 15 years and his wise counsel will be sorely missed.
Trophies & awards
Trophies were then presented. The BHPA President‘s Trophy is normally awarded for the longest flexwing hang glider flight of the year. If this flight does not exceed the previous year‘s mark, as happened last year, the Trophy is awarded for conspicuous service to the sport. How fitting therefore that this year the trophy should go to John Aldridge; no-one in the history of the BHPA has done more to support and improve competitions.
BHPA Awards of Merit, put forward by clubs or individual members, were presented to Nikki Bodill of Accuracy comps and Andy Wallis of the Derbyshire club (details below). The Wings over a Cloud award for the best article to appear in Skywings over the year was awarded, in her absence, to Australia‘s Helen McKerral.
Those present voted for four candidates from the seven listed on the voting papers. When postal votes were taken into account the following were elected to the BHPA Executive Council: Paul Dancey and Angus Langford (re-elected), Chris "Calvo" Burns and Bill Bell. Finally a vote of thanks was proposed to former MP Lembit Opik, who has been the BHPA‘s Honorary President for the past five years.
New faces on Exec
Chris Burns, known to most as Calvo, has been flying for 15 years and heavily involved in competition paragliding for ten, not least as Meet Director at the British Championships. For the last five years he has represented British paragliding interests at CIVL. He has accepted the role of BHPA Competitions Officer.
Bill Bell is a longtime hang glider pilot and secretary of the Hang Gliding Competitions Panel. A former Airwave dealer, he will support Calvo as deputy Competitons Officer on the BHPA Exec.
John Lawson has taken on the role of BHPA Vice-Chairman to assist Martin Heywood. Brett Janaway will take over External Representation. Ed Cunliffe has been co-opted as informal (non-Executive) paramotor representative.
A full AGM report is available here.
Any South Asian pilots?
Eastern Eye, Britain‘s biggest Asian newspaper, is researching an article on gliding and/or hang gliding. They want to spend a day with a pilot of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Sri Lankan origin to discover how they got into the sport, the training needed and the cost, and their memorable experiences and unfulfilled ambitions, etc.
If anyone can help, please contact Nadeem Badshah on 0207 654 7772, or e-mail email@example.com.
Would you like up to £1000 to realize your air sports ambitions?
The deadline is fast approaching for handglider and paraglider pilots between 16 and 21 looking to advance their air sport qualifications to apply for bursaries worth up to £1000 from the Royal Aero Club Trust (RAeCT).
Applications for the bursaries, including The President‘s Scholars (2 bursaries each worth up to £750), the Peter Cruddas Foundation Scholarship worth up to £1,000, and additional bursaries worth up to £500 each such as the Bramson Bursary, must be received by 31st March 2011.
Applicants must be UK citizens, resident in the UK, and training and flying can only be conducted at Clubs, Associations or training establishments in the UK. Applications are to be submitted through a Sponsoring Organisation, Club or Association.
Full details, terms & conditions and an application form are available on the Royal Aero Club Trust web site.
X-Scotia is back!
This year the Scottish Hang Gliding and Paragliding Federation (SHPF) will be organising a revised version of the X-Scotia endurance event, making it accessible to a wider range of pilots. The new format is designed to give the maximum opportunities for flying but still retaining the challenge of a two-day endurance event that involves both flying and walking (or running if you are so inclined).
X-Scotia, based at Lochearnhead, is an excellent way to experience fantastic Scottish Highland flying with stunning scenery. It features the iconic Highland peaks of Meall nan Tarmachan, Ben Vorlich and Ben More. The event will take place on one of the first three weekends of May (7th - 8th, 14th - 15th or 21st - 22nd) depending on the weather.
The main changes for 2011 are a massed start at the best launch site on the day, at a time to suit optimum flying opportunities. Separate legs will mean an overnight halt for all competitors. For more information join the X-Scotia Google group by visiting X-Scotia Google Group.
Rod Buck‘s brilliant weather website has won top prize at the BulkSMS UK Messaging Awards. The citation says, "Wendy Windblows uses text messaging to update subscribers as to the weather conditions at their favourite paragliding or hang gliding site. A subscriber can set wind or weather condition preferences and Wendy Windblows sends email or text alerts when weather conditions are favourable to that subscriber. The site came ahead of many of other worthy entries from commercial and non-commercial organisations that use text messaging for innovative services or their day-to-day communications."
The awards were run last year as part of BulkSMS.com‘s tenth year anniversary celebrations. Wendy Windblows is at www.wendywindblows.com.
A hang gliding site leading the world? Whatever next!
Hangie rescued after coastal mishap
A hang glider pilot had to be rescued by the fire service after becoming stuck in a tree at Corton Cliffs near Lowestoft in January. The glider was embedded in a tree 35ft off the ground at the well-known coastal soaring site.
"The gentleman was very concerned about the safety of his hang glider," reported Steve Mableson of Suffolk Fire and Rescue, "but we were more concerned about his personal safety." Two fire engines, one with a hydraulic platform, and two advanced water-rescue teams attended the scene, as well as the local police to keep the nearby road clear.
Local council workers were then sent with a cherry picker to retrieve the glider. The pilot is believed to be non-BHPA member Paul Whitley. Local clubs are hoping that the good work they have put into promoting hang gliding in the area isn‘t undone by this incident.
Rucksack harness comparison
Rucksack harness comparison. The DHV has compiled a very interesting report, in English, comparing five popular convertible rucksack-harnesses.
It outlines DHV testing of airbag effectiveness, particularly in the take-off phase. The report concludes that none of the tested harnesses offered anything like the back protection required by the LTF standards during take-off, and that good results were often dependent on the presence of a reserve parachute.
The DHV notes that accidents frequently occur during this phase of flight. They are to propose additional requirements for airbag design in the next revision of the LTF harness specifications.
The report is available on the DHV Web site